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Monday, August 20, 2012

To the modern Russian Inquisition / Современной российской Инквизиции

Понаехали тут, вы, персоны нон грата!
Уезжайте домой, вы, агенты разврата!
Вас по достоинству мы оценили совсем непредвзято.
Наше решение верно. Наше отмщение свято.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Росгосстрах - for all followers of Russian politics out there

Photo from May 6th, 2012 in Moscow, just as the anti-Putin mass march is about to confront the riot police blocking a bridge ahead. (from BBC World Service)

For fans of the Russian language - mind the РОСГОССТРАХ (Russian State Insurance company abbreviation, but "Russian state fear", if taken literally) on the building on the right side of the shot. No further caption is needed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let's discuss Harper's style

Everyone interested is invited to participate in a free and open discussion of the issues of scandal, transparency and integrity in Canadian politics on June 2nd from 1:30 to 4 pm at the Riverbend Public Library in Edmonton (full discussion starts at 2 pm). Please email for details. 
Facebook event:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What do you think about door-knocking?

The incident involving a PC incumbent candidate while door-knocking (Globe) got me thinking back to last year when my team and I were door-knocking throughout the Edmonton-Leduc federal riding. I had commented at the time in regards to the different types of people we were meeting at the door. Interestingly, while I included cases of "slammed doors" and "head shakers" into the group of Conservative supporters in that blog post, in the recent situation it was a conservative (allegedly) attacked by an ultra-conservative just for being there on the doorstep. As, by far, the largest group during door-knocking at any time of day or day of the week was, as reported by all of our canvassing teams, those not home or not opening the door to speak to us, I have a series of questions I would love to hear your opinion about:

  1. Do you think door-knocking is an essential part of an election campaign?
  2. Personally, do you generally open the door to speak to canvassers?
  3. If you answered "yes" to question 2, is there someone you wouldn't ever open your door to?
Thank you in advance for your answers!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Are those really 'conscience' rights?

Mrs. Danielle Smith, leader of the Wildrose party of Alberta (WRP),

Do my 'conscience' rights include the right not to believe that we are having this discussion in 2012? As an instructor and researcher by profession, I can't imagine a situation where my 'conscience' would tell me to not include a particular study into my analysis or to not provide my students with information on a particular element of language. Laziness, maybe. Personal feud with a fellow researcher, plausibly. But not my 'conscience'.

This kind of 'conscience' rights debate is the path to very serious social problems. If our 'conscience' decides who gets medical treatment or a marriage license or a loaf of bread in a store, then we are not living in 2012 Alberta. This 'conscience' would soon turn out to be a cover for all sorts of racist, ageist, sexist, nationalist, elitist etc. bigotry.

If one believes that his or her 'conscience' says that same-sex couples are immoral and birth control is evil and it is this 'conscience' that first and foremost dictates their actions, maybe they shouldn't be working with people. Maybe they should find a job (wo)manning a polar or lunar outpost.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

A thief isn't a thief when caught in the act?

The rule used to be that being caught in the act of preparing to commit a crime or a general evil deed was enough to be considered in violation of either the law or the moral foundations of society. Apparently, not anymore. The number of times that the Tories have now claimed innocence in the whole F-35 controversy because "no money was misspent" (yet) indicates that this fact is considered to be a major extenuating circumstance, at least by themselves. To me, this seems as ridiculous as a would-be assassin let go only because their victim was not killed, but only gravely wounded, thus they did not achieve their criminal goal and cannot be considered true criminals. If someone puts together a money laundering scheme or a system of blackmail and extortion, that is already considered a crime, even if "no money had been laundered or extorted" (yet). The top officials in our country were obviously in the know about the slight miscalculation of the price of those jets amounting to as much as $10 billion. This deal had been in the making for months and even years, and just because "no money was misspent" (yet), Harper, MacKay and the rest of the gang do not become these innocent bystanders wrongfully accused of heinous crimes. A thief is a thief, a crook is a crook, and a corrupt and un-Canadian government is exactly that.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A loud and clear NO to the neo-conservative austerity budget 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Children and politics

My local PC MLA, Dave Hancock, extensively features the pictures of children in his print materials (to be fair, he has no pictures at all on his website). It is true that Mr. Hancock is the Minister of Human Services (apparently, the other services this government provides are not human...), which does entail working with families and children, but I just wanted to put these questions out there:

  • How ethical is it to use involve children in advocating for a particular political party, especially the PCs
  • Does working in a capacity that has to do with children make it normal for a politician to use include the pictures of these children in campaign materials? 
  • How different is this from putting a child's face into alcohol or cigarette advertising?

Let's talk, shall we?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why become like Tony Blair when we can stay social democrats?

I'm getting really disturbed by the vision of now already dozens of political journalists, advisers and "pundits" claiming that the only way for Canada's New Democrats to move forward is to become a "Third Way" party of the Blair type, thus abandoning effectively their adherence to social democracy per se and becoming an amorphous "big orange tent" party somewhere in the interminable political center. Being actively involved in the executive of an NDP riding association, I have up to now tried to keep my distance from the leadership race, especially when it comes to anything close to an endorsement (or anti-endorsement) of any of the candidates. However, this recent mania of suddenly placing Tony Blair and the likes of him as the symbol and ideal for which to strive is truly upsetting. Just look at where the British Labour Party is now and also look at, say, the German SPD in terms of their stance on major current issues (not necessarily in terms of their declared ideological positions) to see that the so-called "Third Way" is the way into the political oblivion as far as progressive approaches to socio-economic problems are concerned.
We can definitely do better than that.